IT IS FINISHED!
By Robert Johnson
Did Jesus ever break the Law of Moses? This is a question I have been asked many times. It’s even more relevant today, as there are some who claim Jesus sinned during His earthly ministry. This claim seems to come from those who want to ease their consciences, or rationalize their lifestyles. Of course, if Jesus violated any commandment of the Law of Moses, He sinned (James ).
The real issue is what Scripture says. Make no mistake about it; Jesus would never substitute the traditions of men for the commandments of God! For example, when the Pharisees questioned Jesus about His disciples not washing their hands before they ate, Jesus pointed out this was a human tradition, not a commandment of God (Mark 7:5). While not wrong in and of itself, to bind tradition as doctrine is wrong, as it replaces the will of God. Jesus makes this clear in His following statement; “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8).
Jesus, however, never set aside or failed to keep a command of God. Scripture makes it clear, instead of breaking the Law, Jesus fulfilled it completely. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18). We are redeemed from our sins by Him who knew no sin (2 Corinthians ), “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter )?
How complete was Jesus’ obedience to God? Consider when He came to John to be immersed. John protested, but Jesus replied, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew ). Jesus didn’t need to be immersed for the forgiveness of sin, as we do (Acts ), but He obeyed the will of God by doing so. Thus He could say, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). On the cross, He truly could say, “It is finished” (John ). God’s will had been fully and completely obeyed in His life.
Jesus couldn’t have broken the Law of Moses and be our sinless sacrifice (Hebrews ). Though tempted to sin, He didn’t. Only this combination offers us a sympathetic and forgiving Savior. Like our Lord, may we understand the will of God that we might reject human tradition and follow Him; “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).